A project for tourism development in the Serra Gaúcha
Wahlberg, Molly Anne
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In 2004, the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism launched the Tourism Regionalization Program (Roteiros do Brasil), which presented new prospects for Brazilian tourism through decentralized management. One of the goals of this program was to disperse Brazil’s tourism supply, predominantly located along the coast, and bring tourism to the interior of the country. Brazil’s formal recognition of the need for diversification of its tourist destinations was a positive step toward the development of a thriving Brazilian tourism market, but in the global tourism market, Brazil continues to be associated with a limited number of stereotypical attractions. Despite the advances achieved by the Tourism Regionalization Program, tourism remains geographically concentrated in cities such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. This research serves as an analysis of the lesser-known tourism market in the Serra Gaúcha region of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Through the use of fundamental qualitative research methods, namely semi-structure interviews and questionnaires completed by students and professionals involved with tourism—both in the Serra Gaúcha as well as outside of Brazil—I assess the current state of tourism to the region in order to formulate key recommendations for the development and improvement of the industry there. From the results, I conclude that the tourism boards of the municipalities throughout the Serra Gaúcha should join together to function regionally in order to more effectively market themselves as a desirable tourist destination and to compete on a national scale for tourists’ attention. In light of the magnified attention Brazil is enjoying due to its selection as the host for both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, now is an optimal time for competitive touristic regions, such as the Serra Gaúcha, throughout Brazil to actively build their brand and pursue tourism development strategies tailored to their unique regional strengths and weaknesses.